As the number of Covid-19 cases is considerably lower, dental offices in Ontario have finally been given permission from the Public Health Department to reopen at the end of May
During the time my office was closed, I spent a great amount of time thinking what would be the safest way to work, both for my patients and staff.
Dentists all over Canada have been working hard to meet all updated safety requirements developed by their regulatory colleges under the directives of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.
Dental offices have always followed strict infection control protocols that are now enhanced for patients to continue having quality care in a safe environment.
The following is a description of what has been implemented in my office. All patients and staff are screened for Covid-19 symptoms before they arrive and again at point of contact, including possibly having their body temperature checked. If a patient screens positive (has had one of the symptoms such as fever, cough and difficulty breathing) we advise him/her to wait 14 days for the symptoms to subside and also to contact Telehealth Ontario to ask how to proceed.
More time is allowed between patients to limit the amount of people circulating in the office and to give the assistant enough time to disinfect the rooms.
Patients are asked to arrive at the office wearing a mask that should be kept on until he/she is asked to remove it once sitting on the dentist chair.
Also patients are asked to wash or sanitize their hands upon arrival.
Hand sanitizer is found in several areas at the office.
The staff and I now wear extra personal protective equipment, including face shields and gowns that are changed are between patients.
The operatory rooms are now enclosed with temporary plastic doors that prevent the spread of aerosol produced in certain dental procedures.
Each operatory room has now an air purification system with HEPA filter that removes airborne particulates during and after the procedure is finished. Every operatory room is disinfected and the air is purified for at least 15 minutes before the next patient is allowed to enter.
Door handles and counters are wiped several times a day by our staff.
It took about two to three days for the staff and I to adapt to our “new normal” but after two weeks seeing patients following these new protocols I can say things have gone smoothly and both patients and staff seem pretty acceptive and confident that they are and have always been in a safe place.